UX Design | User Research and Persona – Zane Fadul (Qian)

Oftentimes, we find the process of learning a language to be a long and grueling one; no matter how much you practice, the mastery of a language ultimately comes from your mastery of that so Candy and I wanted to alleviate that problem by creating an app that would aid language learners in better improving their word choice and thus their vocabulary. When I write essays in Chinese, I’m often corrected for my word choice, but because dictionaries cannot exactly tell me which word is the best choice for what I want to talk about, I need to consult a native Chinese speaker to help me out. However, not everyone has this luxury. So our project plan is “Melt,” a dictionary app that utilizes user verification to dynamically list words that closely match the definition of the word inputted by the user. We call it Melt as we equated it to a melting pot of culture, and turned the meaning into one that focuses on the melting together of languages.

For example, if I were a native Chinese speaker and I wanted to find a good English word that meant “牛仔裤”,  rather than the top result being “Cowboy Pants,” the first word would be “Jeans.” The user interface would then convey that the word was voted as the most-used words by English speakers. This would typically be shown using some type of small bar underneath the word.



As we began the design for this process, we used a story arc to dictate what a user could see themselves using Melt for. We start our scene with an interracial couple: Nick—a native English speaker—and Lily—a native Mandarin speaker. Despite not being able to completely understand each other at times, they are in love. Nick decides that he wants to propose to Lily on Valentine’s Day, but he just cannot find the words he wants to say to her to express his love in Mandarin. Using Melt, he is able to effectively melt her heart as well, as his proposal leaves her teary eyed, ending the scene in her saying “yes.” Another way we can show that it is the app that helps him to communicate better with her could be to include some smaller tidbits of them having some communication barriers earlier in the scene.


User Research:

To begin thinking about our persona for our project, we began drafting out some questions. These things included questions that you would see on the persona, such as age, location, etc. We also focused on asking questions regarding the persons cell phone usage habits. Since we know for a fact that almost every user is on their phone for a majority of the day, we wanted to ask what type of apps that users used most rather than how much they used them.

Here are some of our results:

In terms of qualitative data, we asked users what they thought our app’s main functions would extend to given just a simple description of the app’s functionalities.

Here are some of our results:

Surveys were done using Google Forms and WenJuanXing to accommodate those with and without a VPN.



We based personality traits and characteristics based on our qualitative data.


When creating a persona, it’s important to ask a variety of questions that may not necessarily fit the mold of what your project is. This will ensure that we get more information about the user in terms of general interests instead of kind of “gearing” them towards a conclusion that we want.

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